Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dasha's Story

So Dasha is a 21 month old little girl that has been on her own since the day she was born.  She was unfortunate enough to be born sick.  Dasha was born with a Wilm's Tumor in her right kidney.  Wilm's Tumors are very rare but if taken care of quickly and correctly the chances of any cancer returning are less than 10%.  Dasha's mother couldn't take care of her so she left her at the hospital. 

When Dasha was 1 month old she had surgery done to remove her right kidney and the tumor in the process.  The entire tumor, kidney and some surrounding tissue were removed to make sure all cancer cells were gone and then she remained in the hospital until October 2010.  In October she was moved to the orphanage in Kirov City.  During her time in the orphanage she was presented to 42 Russian families who all declined her due to her health and her heredity background.  See Dasha's mother was a Gypsy.  Hence Dasha's dark hair and skin.  I don't know the whole story behind the relationships between Eastern Europeans and Gypsies, but it seems that it is not a positive one. 

I don't know if Dasha was presented to any American families but I would be lying to say that I was very concerned when the word cancer was mentioned.  So we sent her information to Dr. Dana Johnson and Dr. Cynthia Howard at the University of Minnesota International Adoption Clinic.  They asked for a few more test results concerning the other kidney, and gave us an enthusiastic YES!  Go get her.  There will be a few things that she will not be able to do due to her condition, no sledding, no contact sports, and no drinking.  All of those restrictions are just to protect the other kidney, if you only have one, you need to treat it nicely!  But other than that she should be able to lead a normal life.  We are actually traveling up to Minnesota on Jan. 10th to see Dr. Howard so that she get a very through exam related to her condition.  The only major negative is that Dasha was not given any vaccinations due to her surgery so we have A LOT of shots in our future.  That really stinks!  Dasha's name is the nickname of her given name, Darya, we kept Dasha as her legal name because it means Gift from God.
After my last post I am very proud to say that, that night during bath time Dasha had a blast!  I put her in with Camden and would splash him and then splash her and she saw that he wasn't dying and got into it.  Though the best thing was last night she SLEPT ALL NIGHT!  We did something a little different, don't know if that was it, but we will give it a few more nights to see.  Then I will tell what our change is.  So I will leave you with a picture of our pretty girl.

Monday, December 26, 2011

10 days home

Just a quick recap of what has been going on the past 10 days.  Life has been crazy the past week with family in town for Christmas and what-not.  Randy went back to work last week, he had plenty of time at the fire station to take off, but does not qualify for FMLA at the hospital, so he has to return to both. 

Sleep for Dasha is still an issue, but has been getting better.  Instead of getting up at 1 or 2, she is sleeping until about 4:30 in the morning now.  Then we go in, rub her back and tell her night, night. She cries for about a minute and then is quiet for around 30 minutes.  Don't really know if she is sleeping or not, but is quiet.  I don't know if she wakes up and realizes that she alone or what, but she doesn't like it.  This usually goes on until about 6 or 6:30.  This morning though I was so tired that I brought her in to bed with me at 6:30 and she went to sleep until 8.  Any suggestions on this would be great.  I don't know how much more I can handle 4:30 wake up calls. 

There have been some pretty big tantrums, the biggest being yesterday.  There are definitely territory issues between the kids, and she got mad at Camden for taking one of his new toys away from her, which led to a 30 minute fit.  She got so angry that she bit herself.  Then she was really mad.  Don't know if she will do that one again.  Does anyone know, she definitely knows what No means, and melts down every time I tell her no, were they constantly told no, or never told no?  I have a spot in the living room where she throws her fits, where I can see her where ever I am. 

Baths are still not a favorite thing, she cries the whole time, but doesn't fight it.  She clearly says mama, dada, and ball. 

I have to limit how much she drinks because she will drink the entire cup at one time and then 30 minutes later we have a major mess on our hands.  One positive though, we are down to one yucky diaper a day though!

She did very well with the concept of Christmas.  She got into the tearing of the paper, and playing with the new toys.  Overall she is doing well. 

She understands commands such as
come here
sit down
let's eat
do you want a snack
do you want a drink

sorry no pictures this post, can't find the camera post Christmas disaster.  Also sorry if the post makes no sense, I am so tired!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The long awaited Day 20 post

Sorry, jet lag has been my major nemesis this time around and I have been just miserable.  Dasha also has not taken kindly to the time change but it is getting better.  I go to bed when they do at night, and I nap when they nap.  I am finally catching up. 

So Day 20, we got up around 7 am and got the kids ready to go, our driver was picking us up at 9 to take us to DME.  We ran out of drinkable water so I sent Randy and Camden out to get some water and they got back around 8:20 and said are you ready? The driver is here.  So we left and got packed up in the car to go to the airport. 

We got there so early that United wasn't even checking in yet for our flight so we just hung out and walked around for a while until it was time to check in.  We got checked in and then we proceeded to passport control.  We were standing in the line that stated passengers with children and were waiting.  A woman came up to me and started talking to me in Russian, I tried explaining to her that I only spoke English.  So she demonstrated that I needed to cut to the front of the line since we have children.  So we did, and no complaints.  Interesting philosophy.  We did have to show our adoption paperwork, but Randy took Dasha through, so I didn't have to deal with it.  That made me very happy, less stress.  I took Camden through. 

We get to our gate sit down, feed Dasha lunch, and go buy ourselves one expensive pizza and spent the last of our Rubles.  Then the most annoying part happened.  I don't know why, but every time we leave Russia, they make you take all our bags and leave the gate area, and then go back through a check-point again with your passports, it's not like they haven't been checked 4 times already!

So we get on the flight, and the seats are 2-3-2, so I am in the middle with the kids, and Randy is sitting on one of the side aisle seats.  We got Economy Plus seats and they were wonderful!  5 more inches of leg room, is amazing.  Dasha slept a little more than we wanted, but she did very well.  We did see her temper a few times.  Mostly when the seat belt signs came on and I had to hold her and she couldn't move around.  The girl has a set of lungs on her. 

We got to Washington D.C. and went through customs, it was very quick and painless.  We handed over our sealed envelope from the US Embassy and he said, Congrats, you will get some papers in the mail in a few weeks.  So off we go to get our bags.  We rechecked our bags and then had to go through security AGAIN!  All 3 bags we sent through got searched and they made us open Dasha's baby food to make sure it wasn't hazardous.  They told me next time I needed to take the food out.  By this time we had 22 minutes until our next flight and I was not in the mood for a lecture from the TSA.  I stated that they needed to post on their signs that baby food needed to be taken out, as they are NOT a liquid.  So we booked it to our gate, and amazingly found out that our flight was delayed for an hour.  So we were able to get some dinner which was so nice. 

The final 2.5 hour flight Dasha slept the entire flight in Randy's arms and Camden slept the last hour, we landed in KC and my parents were there waiting for us to take us home.  Dasha did very well with the car seat, just a few whines and it was the first time that she sucked her thumb other than going to sleep, so she was definitely nervous.    We got home, got the kids ready for bed and crashed.  Then the jet lag hit.  I went to sleep at 10:30 and woke up at 1:15.  Was awake the rest of the night.  Kids were up at 4 and 5 respectively.  More to come as I get over the jet lag still....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 19

We are coming home tomorrow!  Wahoo!  The whole adventure is coming to an end.  Don't worry, the blog will continue! 

So today we had our embassay interview.  Dasha woke up around 7:15, good thing she was in the room with us, as the ONLY reason we knew she was up was that she was rolling around a lot.  She is so quiet, unless she is excited and then she squeals and sings and babbles.  We have gotten her to say mama and dada, now we just got to have her connect those words to us!

So we get up and get her fed, and we start getting ready for the day.  Randy went in at 8 and woke Camden up as our ride was coming at 9:15.  I was getting Dasha's snowsuit on when I smelled it.  Yep, you guess right.  Now I get to undress her and change the lovely diaper and then get her redressed again!  We still made it outside in time for our 9:15 pick-up time.  We then went and picked up the other family and off to the embassay we went.  There were 12 families there adopting kids.  We walked right to the front of the line at security, then when Randy had to go pay for her visa he cut in front of all the Russians waiting to pay for ther visas to the US.  We then waited for our interview.  We learned that Dasha will be a dual-citizen until at least the age of 18.  Then she can renounce her citizenship or remain a dual citizen the rest of her life.

We flew through our interview, got our sealed packet and we were ready to go.  I was bummed though because when we walked outside it was raining.  Today was our St. Basil picture day.  We got back to the apartment, fed the kids and our selves, and then put them down for naps.  I tell you what, when we got our daughter, we got a super sleeper.  She does not want to be rocked to sleep, she wants you to lay her down and she sticks her thumb in her mouth and she is out.  We do our snuggle/cuddle time when she wakes up, she does not wake up easily!  Oh, yes after lunch there was another lovely diaper!

After naps we still went to St. Basil's anyway, even in the rain.  We got our shot, we are diehards!   I finally broke down and bought a beautiful Fabagre egg that has the Kremlin on the outside and when you open it, St. Basil's is on the inside.  The lady proudly told me that it was made in St. Petersburg, and then pointed to the cheaper ones and said with disgust, "China."  I just had to laugh.

Got home for dinner, pizza, and then yet again another yucky diaper.  Ugh, 3 in one day is a little more than I can handle.  I guess the new food is affecting her a little.  Hopefully she adjusts soon!

Then on to the adventure of bath #2.  I brought her in and turned on the water.  Instant water works.  She wasn't even in the tub yet.  She cried and cried, and even shrieked once, but Randy came in and held her hand and she instantly stopped crying.  So nice, I got her all scrubbed up, and got her out and instant smile again!  Crazy little girl.

Right now both kids are sound asleep and we are packing, so for a few days we leave you with a picture of our whole family in front of St. Basil's!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 18

So I will kinda recap our last 24 hours together since we picked up Dasha from the orphanage.  It feels so nice to say her name!

So we headed to the orphanage at 2 p.m.  We were taken to a new room and told to get Dasha dressed.  Out she comes in her underwear, undershirt and socks.  She looks like they just woke her up and brought her to us.  Dasha takes quite a while to warm up after she wakes up, so the whole getting ready was pretty somber for her, she didn't quite know what to do.  We were then told to get her snow suit on, and we were like wait!  Our gifts.  So we rushed, rushed to the doctors office, gave her her gift, and the orphanage their gift, tons of diaper and wipes, I gave Lena her gift, and Olga's since Olga wasn't there that day.  Then the care takers, and off back to the room to get her snow suit on.  I rebelled a little and never bought her snow boots, so we snuck her out with no one looking to the van, got a quick picture, and off we went to the hotel to get our luggage.  We had about 30 minutes where Dasha finally started perking up and playing.  Then to the train we went.  We took the 5 pm train out because we needed to be in Moscow at 6 am for the children's medical appts.

So Randy and I didn't get any sleep at all, we made Dasha a bed on the floor, Camden and Randy slept on the lower bunks, and I slept up top.  Dasha was all over the place rolling while she was sleeping.  Randy and I were constantly pulling her out from under the seats etc.  Plus there were some very loud "spirited" guys next door to us.  So we got up at 5 to feed the kids, and we got off the train.  One thing we did learn is that Dasha sucks her thumb, but only when she goes to sleep. 

We had to do some paperwork and then off to the medical center.  We saw the lovely Dr. Boris.  He gave the same lines: "Do you have any weapons, No? Better get one to fend off the boys."
"She must of been a favorite, she is chunky."
"Don't spoil her."

She weighed 22 lbs, and 31 inches long.  She is a big girl!

We had to go get her picture taken for her US Visa, she did much better this time, and we went to the Embassy so that Tonya, our translator, could drop off our paperwork.  Dasha fell asleep in the van during this time and probably slept about 30 minutes in my arms, when we got dropped off at the apartment she was drenched from head to toe, because she was in her full arctic gear!  Dasha already needed a bath, because of the orphanage "funk" but now she really needed the bath.  The bath went as expected.  I put a little water in the bottom of the tub, put both her and Camden in, the minute her toes hit the water she started crying.  Now she never freaked, but let it be known she was not happy with me.  It was a very quick bath, and as soon as I pulled her out, she gave me the biggest grin!

She definitely smelled much better after this!  Then it was lunch time and nap time.  She can put away food, it is amazing, and how fast.  She doesn't chew, she just swallows.  I am so glad I brought the baby food, we have to work on chewing though!  Then both kids went down for naps at 1 and we had to wake them up at 4:30!  They were so tired.  Then dinner again for Dasha, and then we hit the town and went to Chili's.  We had to take two trains to get there and Dasha did amazing!  Not a peep and even swinging her legs in the stroller and singing.  We had a wonderful dinner and got back late not realizing it, it was 9.  Got the kids changes and into bed, and now it is our turn.  We both have been awake for about 36 hours so we are exhausted.  Thanks for all the wonderful comments on the previous post, we leave Saturday and tomorrow is our embassy visit.  We are really on the home stretch now.

Day 17 Family Day

My blogger friend Trisha renamed this Family Day which I love, so sit back, relax and enjoy!



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 16

So this morning we woke up on the train, it was probably the worst that I have ever slept on the train, maybe it was because I wasn't extremely exhausted.  We went to the hotel and we were given 25 minutes to be showered and downstairs ready to go.  I was like wow, not a lot of time at all!  So we get in the van with two other families that were on their first trip, funny thing one is from Kansas, about 30 miles from where we live.  So we head out to what we thought was the orphanage, but we stop after a few minutes, and they say paperwork families out, that was us.  So we get out and go do some paperwork.  Then we go to another building, more paperwork.  Then we drive forever and the other paperwork family gets out but not us.  By this time it is lunch time.  So we drive to the orphanage and get the two families that were on their first trip, and we go to lunch. 

After lunch we were summoned again, paperwork families, let's go.  We proceed to go to the van and off we go.  We then learn that Peanut has a savings account.  We then dropped off the other family at the hotel, no orphanage visit today, and we continue on and and we make 5 more stops, non of which we get out.  We finally go to a bank where Randy gets out and goes in and closes out Peanut's account and we realize that we have a great start to her college account.  We never dreamt that there would be the amount that she had.  Peanut is very blessed!  After that we had been in the van for about 7 hours including our time at lunch, and Camden hadn't lost it yet, and we were taken back to the hotel for the night.  No orphanage for us either.  Oh well, we get Peanut tomorrow forever.  It's all good!

Day 15

Well today was pretty uneventful.  We just hung around the apartment until it was time to leave for the train station.  We caught the train and took it all night to Kirov.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

day 14

Sorry all, after I went to bed last night I realized that I forgot to update last night.  So here it is.  We didn't do a whole lot yesterday, we took the metro up a stop because Randy read that there were some good eating places there, since we were tired of what was around us.  So we took the train up, and since I have no directional skills I just follow Randy.  We start walking and walking and walking.  Nothing, I didn't bring the stroller this time and Camden is getting tired, finally Randy says, there's a TGIFridays!  Oh look, a McDonalds.  I look, and sadly realize that these are the TGIFridays and McDonalds right by our apartment.  We went the wrong way and were back in our neighborhood.  So sadly we went to McDonalds.  If I have to eat at McDonald's anytime soon after we get back it will be too soon.  We have not been more adventurous with our food because Camden is in that stage where he doesn't like anything, so we have stuck with the known likes. 

Last night though was fun, after dinner, we got bundled up to go see Red Square at night.  Definitely worth it.  It is very pretty at night and though very cold, it is worth it.  I highly recommend doing it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 13

So today we went to quite a few places.  First, Randy got inspired by one of our FB friends to go find the old KGB headquarters building.  It is a pretty impressive building, though not sure what it is used for in today's society. 

Next, we took the Metro to the train station, where there is a store where we were able to purchase our coordinator's presents.  We are having our friend from the states bring us some chocolates, they were on sale in the U.S. for $2.79, if we bought them here we would spend over $10 a piece for the same chocolates.  We then purchased then a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of vodka.  They are father and son, so they can trade if need be!  Randy and I have bought more alcohol in the past 2 weeks than we have in our entire lives!  Since we don't drink, we hope we are buying something they like!  We looked at the store here by us, but they were about double the price of the store we went to. 

Finally we went back to the flea market.  Izmailovsky Park and Market was much busier today than last Sunday, plus it was colder and it snowed on us all morning.  Randy finally broke down and bought his Father Christmas figurine, he found a beautiful one, and I got a replica of St. Basil's that plays music, and also two sets of Nesting dolls that have the family theme.  There is a Father, Mother, and 3 daughters.  There are not any that have sons in them.  Weird.  We then headed back towards where we are staying at and went and ate lunch.  I think the temperature dropped a few degrees when we were eating because it was so cold when we left. 

The protests are still going on over here, I guess there was a gathering of over 30,000 across the river from the Kremlin, they were suppose to meet in Red Square, but there were too many people so they moved them across the river to accommodate them.  It has been interesting to see the Russian point of view on the whole process and how Putin is annoyed at H.Clinton for asking for an inquiry of their elections.  Needless to say the local governments are not saying nice things about her. 

The Russian people, they have been very nice to us.  I have had people offer to help carry the stroller down the many endless stairs in the Metro, and though they will cut in line with the best of them, flashbacks to my education days, when there were fights for the best spot in line, but once they get on the escalators in the Metro, they stand in a single file line.  The women here are very beautiful, and very agile!  They wear 5-6 inch stilettos in the snow and ice.  Wear mini-skirts in freezing cold weather, with only tights to cover their legs.  Crazy!  They make amazing pastries and breads.  Plus they are giving us a beautiful little girl to take home with us! 

Now to leave you with some more pictures of our adventures here in Moscow.

The Former KGB Building 
 We thought this was funny, it was right by the KGB building, and if you look at the letters of the Restaurant...
 Inside another Metro Station
 The inside of the expensive grocery store right by us!  Beautiful
 Camden took this shot, had to include it!  My St. Basil's Music box
  The train station

Friday, December 9, 2011

day 12

Wow, we are getting closer!  We leave for Kirov in 3 days, and come home in 8 days.  So close.  We are almost done.  Thanks for all the suggestions for gifts, we got it figured out! 
So today we ventured back to Red Square in hopes that the security and protesters were gone and we could shop the vendors there.  Success!  The security was gone and we got to shop the vendors there.  We scored some great deals!  For future PAP's coming to Moscow, don't waste your time shopping on Arbat Street.  Definitely go, but don't shop!  Everything is so much cheaper on Red Square and at Izmailovsky Park and Market.  Now some of the stores told us that they would give you a discount, but their discount was like 50 Rubles.  We talked one guy down today almost 200 rubles, and his starting prices were less than in the stores there.  Now I loved walking down Arbat Street, but not for the deals. 

I also highly recommend taking the Metro.  So many websites state that it is scary, but it is just like riding the subway in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.  The only challenge is the language, but we found a metro map and it is super easy.  Plus they are the most beautiful subway stations I have ever seen.  Marble, statues, chandeliers.  Just awesome!

After about 2 hours at Red Square we were frozen, and headed back to go eat lunch. We ate lunch and went to the apartment where Camden crashed. He has been so good the past 2 weeks it is amazing! He has always been a good little man, but all the changes, and just everything we have thrown at him have just been taken in stride.

Below are just some fun pictures that we have taken!


Need a parking spot, just park on the sidewalk!


The Ritz-Carleton, very impressive!


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


Our Apartment Building!

Metro Stop, Just Beautiful!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

day 11 and Please Help

Today was a much better day!  Though bitterly cold.  Though I hear that it is much colder back home in KC than it is here in Moscow.  We went to the Moscow Zoo today.  It is smack dab right in the middle of the city.  Just one metro stop away from us.  Since it was so cold a lot of animals were in their "homes" but we still got to see a lot of wildlife and Camden loved it.  The only negative I would have of it, is the buildings that we could go in and see the warmer climate animals, such as giraffes, elephants, monkeys, etc, the building smelled HORRIBLE!  Makes me realize how good the ventilation at our own zoo is, to avoid that horrible smell. 

Afterwards we went to lunch at Burger King right across the street, Camden was starving.  We got someone who spoke English so I braved ordering a chicken sandwich with no mayo.  I hate all things condiments, and when I got my sandwich, it was pretty funny.  They had taken a sandwich that had already been made, and just wiped the mayo off of it!  LOL, too funny, I ate it anyway! 

For dinner we splurged and went to TGIFridays, and Randy was pretty bummed that his Jack Daniels Chicken was the equivalent of $20 here.  So he and Camden split chicken fingers, and I got the blackened chicken pasta.  The chicken was excellent, the pasta, not so much.  It was very bland and had no flavor at all.  Afterwards we skyped with my mom, and got Camden off to bed.

Now for the help part, we are at a stand still on what to get our two male coordinators for gifts.  We have a friend who is coming back on Monday to finish her adoption with is, and is willing to pick up something for us, but we are at a loss!  Help, what did you get your male coordinators?  Or male anybody, translator, driver.  Just something for a man.    Have a great day!

Denise

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 10-or Blah day

That about sums it up.  Did not want to do anything at all today.  We have seen all the major sights in Moscow, and we are out of ideas of what to do.  We just hung at the apartment all day and only ventured out to go get lunch.  We did find a great little bakery shop under the streets that sells wonderful apple turnovers and cinnamon rolls for less than a dollar a piece.  When you are in Moscow, to get from one side of the street to the other, you actually walk under the street.  These passage ways are lined with the tiniest shops ever.  They sell everything from hose to clothing, hats, nesting dolls, everything.  The bakery is our saving grace!  It is about 4 blocks from our apartment.  Tomorrow we are going to try Red Square again since it seems the protests have moved up towards where we are located at now.  I wish they would just end though.  It is getting annoying.  The police presence is massive, I have never seen so many police ever.  We have 5 more days until we head back to Kirov.  So ready to go and get back home.  I miss my car, stores with stuff I can read!  I am so glad we got to experience the culture here though!  It is priceless.

Denise

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 9

Ahhh, what a relaxing day it was here.  Last night Randy and I were just plain exhausted!  He went and laid down with Camden at 8 and I knew I would never see him again. ;-)  I was doing laundry, the little Euro-combo takes like 2.5 hours to go through an entire cycle.  Well 8:30 hit and I just couldn't keep my eyes open any more.  So off to bed I go.  Camden slept until 7:30 this morning, and it was heavenly.  I really felt rested this morning!  So  we ate some breakfast, and then just hung around the apartment until lunch time.  We have been eating breakfast and dinner at the apartment, and lunch out.  Today we went to KFC.  Yummy!  We then hopped the subway and went to a local mall since we have a few more gifts for translators and coordinators still.  We found 1 gift, but I am stumped at what to get our 2 male coordinators.  Any suggestions, the fall back is alcohol, but I would like something to be personal.  What did you do? 

The mall also had a grocery store in it, so we grabbed some water, pop, and some TP.  Very important stuff that TP!!!  Then the subway back home where Camden took a nap, and then we did our favorite.  Breakfast for dinner!  Love doing breakfast for dinner.  We were lacking a few things, no potatoes, and no salt and pepper.  Have not seen either of them at all.  Maybe that is why I haven't seen hardly any heavy Russians, no salt!  Actually it is probably all the walking and all the stairs in the subway system.  I feel like I have lost weight with all the walking we have done! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 8

So today we were out for a long time.  We decided we were going to go find Arbat Street.  So we hopped on the Metro and went to the correct stop.  Once we got off I even saw a sign that said Arbat Street straight ahead 100M.  Guess what, we missed it.  We just kept walking, and walking, and walking.  Finally we turned around, and went back towards the metro.  We saw a map, but it was backwards, so I finally went into a hotel and asked, the people laughed and said right around the corner.  We were literally standing right by Arbat Street and had walked right by it.  I was looking for a street with vendors, etc.  It is actually a street with mainly stores.  We went looking and found some beautiful Father Christmas wooden dolls, but we didn't purchase any.  Everything there was quite a bit more than the flea market that we went to yesterday.  So I think next weekend we will go back there and buy the rest of our presents that we need.  Funny thing though, is that Camden got two things for free.  They just love him here and he got two more presents in two of the stores we went in.  We are going to be set for gifts, just need to take him a few more places! :-)

Afterwards we went to Red Square.  There are some elections going on right now and there is a major police presence through out Red Square.  We couldn't even get to some of the vendors because they had them barricaded off because of heavy protesting going on.  Hopefully it ends soon, so we can go look at the vendors there also.  But we went through Gum mall, which is decorated beautifully for Christmas, saw the Kremlin, and of course St. Basil's Cathedral.  It is very majestic. 

 Inside Gum Mall

 The Beautiful St. Basil's Cathedral

Us outside St. Basil's 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 7

Well today was a little more active than yesterday!  This morning we got up and skyped with Randy's sister and mom, ate some breakfast, and waited for the sun to come up.  It rises at about 9:30 and sets at 5ish.  We decided that we were going to try the subway system!  We wanted to go to Izmailovsky Park and Market.  It is a flea market of types, where you can buy all things souvenirs. 

So we set off and the first hurdle is buying tickets.  We tried to purchase 3 2 ride passes.  Handed the lady the exact change, and she gave us 3 cards, but when we went to scan them to get through the gates, only 1 card worked.  Grrrr...  Luckily the lady down there let us through anyway.  Then we knew that we needed to take 3 different trains to get there.  Now everything is in Russian Acrylic, and we got confused at first and went the wrong direction, but it actually worked out, we just hopped another train and we still made it.  The only negative was how HOT the trains were.  I knew we were going to be out all morning so we bundled up, but on the trains we were sweating horribly. 

We made it to the market though and were walking around and I found a perfect little Russian dress for Peanut with matching hat that I had to have for her!  It is their traditional garb that they wear for ceremonies etc.  Next we were grabbed by a hat vendor, that have the traditional fur hats.  We asked for one for Camden.  The guy brought out one that fit well, and then said that he wanted 2,000 Rubles for it.  We were like No, No, No.  Then he was like name your price.  So we asked how many for 3 hats, gifts, etc.  We came down to 2,500 for 3, and I said no, 2,000, and we got them!   3 hats for the original price of 1!

Finally we found some beautiful nesting dolls, one for us, and 2 for gifts.  They lady also gave Camden a Santa figurine as a present.  So nice.  The crazy thing is, though, I have expected to get yelled at since I do not have him in a snow suit, and I haven't gotten one word yet.  Awesome!

We headed back to the apartment, stopping for some lunch.  Put Camden down for a nap, and started searching the Internet for a grocery store.  We found one two subways stops away.  So after Camden got up we were off again.  We did much better this time!  We found it, and even though their prices are still high, they were so much better than the store by us.  We were able to get hamburger, bacon, spaghetti sauce, and some snacks.  Again though the heat in the store was almost unbearable!  They need coat racks as you enter stores that you can take your coat off, so you don't melt.  We have been running the air conditioner in our apartment at night so we can sleep comfortably! 

Tomorrow we are off to Red Square, and maybe Arabat Street.  Still have some more gift to buy.  We also got to attend church tonight.  Our church does an Internet feed live, so we tuned in tonight.  It was very nice to be able to do that.  Until tomorrow!

Day 6

We arrived back in Moscow about 10 am, and Ilya our coordinator in Moscow drove us back to our apartment, where we went in and started some laundry.  Our apartment has one of those European washer/dryer combos, now I am extremely grateful that we get to wash them in a machine, rather by hand, but this thing does not dry the clothes at all!  It gets them really warm, and then turns off.  I have even tried just drying them, nada.  So I have to hang all our clothes all over the apartment to get them dry.  Which I will take that any day over hand washing the clothes in a bathtub. 

We then ventured out for some lunch and we are right by the biggest McDonald's in the world.  It is massive.  We walked in and they have 17 registers, 1500 employees, can seat 700 people, and serves over 40,000 people a day.  After we got a picture menu, we ordered, and then proceeded to try and find a table.  It was so packed in there it took us about 10 minutes to find a table.  After eating, we went back to the apartment and just relaxed for a while. 

When dinner time came we went over to the grocery store and were overwhelmed by the prices.  $10 for 1 kilogram of hamburger meat.  $10 for spaghetti sauce, etc.  It is so expensive.  We left with cereal, bananas, milk and water!  Camden ate cereal for dinner, and Randy and I didn't eat, we really weren't hungry.  We are going to try and find a market outside of downtown to see if the prices are any cheaper.

Mostly we did absolutely nothing today and it was wonderful!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dah Day, day 5

Court day!!!

We had court at 10 am this morning.  We met up with another family on their trip 1 from the U.S., they dropped us off at the court house and then they continued to the orphanage. 

The single lady that we were with went first.  She got her dah, and then it was our turn.  Camden waited outside with Stephanie, watching a movie, and we went in for our session.  We had to stand and state our names, where we live, and then we got started.  Randy spoke for the most part of our court session.

He was asked questions such as, can we afford another child, why not another biological child, and how are we going to overcome the language barrier.  He did an amazing job.  Then it was my turn.  He asked if I am okay with being a stay-at-home mother, and I said yes.  He asked if I have a driver's license, which was yes, and if I have transportation to go shopping, etc, or if in an emergency can I take the baby to the hospital, I said yes.  Then the really surprising question came.  He asked, you give $X amount of dollars to your church every month.  Why? 

I explained that our faith believes that we give back 10% of everything we make to the church, for ministry opportunities.  He then stated, that it was a lot of money, why do we do it?  So I went a little deeper, stating that our church sponsors orphans around the world and if we didn't give to the church, then they would not be able to impact the orphans lives like they do.  He seemed satisfied by that.  They also asked that if we ever were able to have another child would we want Peanut anymore.  I was like, she is our child, I would never not love her!

The Ministry of Education official gave her recommendation, and the prosecutor gave her recommendation, and then the judge left.  About 2 minutes later he came back and read his decision.  It was a DAH!!!!  He said congratulations, and we then went out to the waiting room.  We were packing up Camden's thing, when the judge came back with a beautiful Model car in his hands.  He then handed it to Camden, and told Lena, that he was such a good boy during court that he deserved a present.  We thanked him and then he left.  Lena was amazed, she said that he had NEVER done that before.

We left, and went back to the hotel, and changed, met the other families, and went to lunch.  After lunch back to the orphanage, for about 2 hours, and then back to the train.  Camden gave Peanut a hug and kiss bye, as did we, and we will see her again in 10 days.  Back to Moscow, for some adventures, and fun.


Right after our Dah! Outside the Courthouse!


Camden with his new car!

Day 4

We got into Kirov, and was picked up by Lena, and we went to the hotel for a quick shower, breakfast and clean clothes.  We then were off to see little miss.  Camden was so excited!  We were taken to a different room this time and we waited.  There were some toys in this room and Camden got busy playing.  About 10 minutes later little miss was brought in.  Sadly she didn't remember us at all.  So it took her most of the morning to warm up to us.  Camden played well with her though, and he shared with her, and really loved playing with her.  When it was lunch time we took her to her room, and then we were off to lunch. 

After lunch we went back  and it was a much better time this time.  She was very active, playful and really smiley.  When she laughs, he kinda does an internal giggle, not a real belly laugh or anything, but she really was expressing herself.  After about an hour and a half, Lena came in and told us to take her back to her room, so she could get dressed so we could go get her passport photo.  She also stated that we were taking 3 additional children.  So between the 3 that we were there seeing we had 3 more.  So let me tell you it was a spectacle. All of us had a child, plus Camden.  They had these babies so bundled it wasn't even funny, I have a picture of Peanut, but can't post it yet, but will.  The funny part was though when Lena came up with the Irish couple's baby, they traveled with us on Trip 1, and plopped her in his arms.  Randy has a firm policy of not holding other people's babies.  The look on his face was priceless. 

So off the the photo place.  All the babies were miserable, and drenched in sweat!  Peanut had on an undershirt, her outfit, then a sweatshirt, then her snowsuit, hat, mittens, and a scarf.  So when we took everything off, she was just wet.  All the other babies went in and got their pictures, and then it was Peanut's turn.  I took her in and put her on the stool, and she freaked out!  She started crying so hard, this was the first time we had ever seen her cry, so it was good.  I picked her up and comforted her, and tried again, the guy took her picture, but it is not pretty, she is screaming her head off!  It will be a good keepsake for when her first boyfriend comes over!

We then had to take all the babies back to the orphanage, drop them off and then back to the hotel.  Dinnerish, mostly snacks, as we were all exhausted, and sleep!

Day 3 Continued

So we were picked up at 11:45 to go to the Medical Center for our 8 doctor medical exam.  When we got there we were led to a waiting room with the other single lady that was adopting who traveled with us last time.  We were called in 1 at a time.  The first doctor was the TB doctor.  I don't know if I have mentioned this before, Randy always tests postitive with the skin TB test, so he goes in every year and take a chest x-ray instead.  The doctor was not happy that he did not have the actual skin test done and he tried explaining what american doctors do in this situation.  She then suggested that he take an anti-histamine for 7 days before he takes the skin test so he can get a negative.  Again he tried explaining how it is done in America.  She then asked why he didn't take the blood test for TB.  Then he was really confused, since there is no blood test for TB, since it is a lung disease.  She then stated that TB could be in the bones, the blood, liver, etc.  Now Randy is really confused, as he is a nurse, he was was like WHAT!?!  TB is a lung disease only!  This was the TB expert!  Anyway, she signed the form, and we then waited for the next doctor. 

Next was the infectious dieseases doctor, she looked at her lab results and was happy. Done.  Next was the addiction doctor, she looked at our urine analysis, and signed away.  Next was the family doctor, she asked if we had ever had any broken bones, I stated that I had broken my elbow.  She asked me what the name if the bone was!  Randy had to tell her what the bone was called.  LOL, we then had to take off our shirts, let her listen to us breathe, and then lay on a bed, and let her feel our stomach.  Also, as a side note, there is NO privacy in these appts.  There was a Russian family adopting in the room with us, and the curtain that provided "privacy" only went to mid-chest! 

We went back to the waiting room, and was waiting for the other doctors, and Tonya, our translator, came in and told us the other doctors were too busy to come and they just signed our forms.  We had to pay our 25,000 Rubles, about $806.00 per person, and we left with our reports.  Took about 2 hours.

We left and went to go catch our train, on the way to the cafe, where we wait Camden fell asleep in the van, now this is highly unusual for this child, he NEVER sleeps in the car, he was just so exhausted that he passed out.  We got to the cafe and had about 2 hours before the train, we went in and put Camden down and he passed out on the couch.  We let him sleep about another hour while we chatted with a German couple that was going out to Kirov with us to meet their son.  About half an hour before we left I tried to wake Camden up, and it was nearly impossibe!  He was so out of it.  I finally got him up and we got on the train to Kirov.  Camden loved the train for the hour he was awake. :-)

We all slept pretty well, and we got in to Kirov about 8 am the next morning.

On a side note, I realized when we were in Moscow, that I forgot to buy a present for one of the VIP women, so Randy went on the hunt for a bottle of expensive wine for her.  Day 4 and 5 coming soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ok, A little More Coherent here now!

I guess this would be day 3 of our trip, since we left on Monday, so the day 3 report.  We left on Monday at 3.  Now if you have ever flown out of KC you know it is about the easiest and fastest airport ever.  You don't have to arrive 2-3 hours early, an hour is sufficent, even when checking bags, because you go through security at your gate, not with every person flying at the airport that day.  So we get on the plane, taxi, and seems like we are taxing forever, like I said, easiest airport ever to fly from.  After about 25 minutes of waiting and taxing, the pilot come on and said that the 1 of the primary runways was shut down for repairs, and the other primary was shut down because a bird hit a plane in the engine, so the plane was on the runway broken down.  So we were going to the alternate runways, 1 for landing, 1 for taking off.  Lots of planes. 

We arrive in Chicago, grab some dinner, and board for the long flight.  They close the doors, and they say that we are leaving, but we never leave.  Finally the pilot comes over and says that there is a problem with a bag and they are trying to fix it.  An hour later we finally leave.  Camden slept about 5 hours of the 8 hour flight.  He did amazing.  I, on the other hand didn't sleep a wink.  I didn't want to take sleeping pills because I didn't want to be passed out if Camden needed anything.  We arrive in Frankfurt, have to take a bus to the terminal, get through security again, and then off for our last flight.  I tell you what, Lufthansa doesn't mess around.  I took Camden to the bathroom before we took off, because he says it's too loud when the plane is flying.  Well we were in the bathroom and the plane starts moving, not a pleasant experience with a little boy who has aiming problems anyway. 

We get to Moscow, go through security, and we go get our bags, all three bags were there, and go find our driver.  Then goes our 1+ hour drive to our apartment.  I think our driver got lost a few times, he kept googling where we were.  Camden passed out after about 5 minutes, which is a miracle, he NEVER sleeps in cars.  We get to our apartment, Randy had to go get a phone, TP, and some water, we made contact with ur agency, and we are leaving at 11:30 am for our medicals, and then overnight train to Kirov.  Luckly we get to leave a bag here at the apartment, because we have so much for Peanut, we thought it was crazy to drag it all there, bring it back, drag it back, etc. 

We are getting rid of most of our gifts when we are in Kirov for court, so that will empty an entire suitcase!  Can't wait to get rid of that stuff.  So last night we went to bed at 11ish, and I woke up wide awake at 2:30, the sleeping pills were in the diaper bag in Camden's room, and I didn't want to risk waking him up, so I just tossed and turned for a while.  Went back to sleep and woke at 7.  The sun rises about 9:15 and is suppose to set at about 4:15.  Short days!  Well until tomorrow, have a great day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Moscow

We are here, tired, exhusted beyond belief, no sleep at all for me, but Camden did awesome!  What a trooper.  I will type more when I can keep my eyes open without them burning.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Travel Plans

So tomorrow we leave to go get Peanut! Our travel is going to look something like this:

We leave Kc at 3:00
KC to Chicago,
Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfort to Moscow. We arrive in Moscow the 29th at 7:30 p.m.

We have our medicals in Moscow the 30th, and then we hop an overnight train to Kirov.
Arrive in Kirov, on the 1st, and go visit Little Miss on the First.
Court on the 2nd, overnight train back to Moscow, arriving in the morning on the 3rd.
Hang out in Moscow the 3rd to the 12th.

Overnight train back to Kirov the 12th arrive on the 13th. Visit Little Miss on the 13th, and pick-up on the 14th. Immediate overnight train back to Moscow arriving on the 15th.
Peanut's medical on the 15th,
Embassy on the 16th,
Leave Moscow the 17th, arrive in Dulles, where we only have a 1.5 hour layover, I have a feeling we will miss our connecting flight, but I don't care, we will be back in the US, so we will either get home on the 17th or the 18th.

Very fast, very whirlwind. I really don't know when the next time we will get Internet access, we will have it in Moscow, but we might pass out from exhaustion! So for sure we will post on the 1st from Kirov after our visit with Little Miss.

Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words, all of my blogger friends have been wonderful! I hope that I get to meet more of you as time go by!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Divorce from Agency A

There had been so much stress from trying to get all our court documents done that I completely forgot to tell about divorcing Agency A.

I had all these scenarios in my head on how it would go, and it did not happen at ALL how I imagined.  I called them and asked to speak with the director, and of course he was not in the office, and so I asked to speak with our coordinator.  Guess what, she was gone also.  Just confirms our decision to not use them.  So I was transferred to our coordinators voicemail.  I left a very nice message saying that they are not the agency for us, and they can't help us anymore, and I asked if they would mail us our receipts.  I also stated how disappointed in them that they stuck us in a region that refuses to give out referrals. 

Didn't hear back all that day, but the next, I got an email from the coordinator stating that she didn't know if she could give us any receipts, as no one had ever asked for them before who had left the program, and would have to ask permission.  About 20 minutes later, I got another email with the receipts, no goodbye, no sorry we dropped the ball, just here are your receipts.

Later on that day I got an email from the director saying that he was sorry we were leaving, but then said that if he was in our shoes, he would of probably of done the same thing!  Wow, even he does not have confidence in his own agency.  I also posted a message on the agency yahoo message board, saying we were leaving and if anyone had questions they could email us.  About an hour later, we were removed from the yahoo group, probably the agency.

I did get a few emails, and I told them our story, and gave them Agency B's information.  Hopefully they get some good info.  So needless to say, I didn't "stick it" to them like I wanted to, but it was probably better this way.

On a positive note, we got our new washer and dryer installed today, and I am already doing laundry!  LOVE THEM!!! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wahoo!

I got the visas today, and they were all there!  I have been having horrible dreams the past two nights that I get the envelope and open them, and there are only 2 visas, not 3!  Crazy I know, but you know things just go through your head and you can't stop them.  We also got our letter from the doctor who evaluated Peanut for the USCIS saying that they feel she is great to come to the US. 
I now feel like we have everything we need, and possibly the kitchen sink accounted for, for our 21 days away.  I got the car seat installed, and I am really confused as to how our suburban is set up.  For those of you who have ever been in a suburban, to access the 3rd seat, you have to move one seat.  Well for our 2nd row, there are only 2 sets of hooks for the car seats, one in the middle, and one on the seat that has to move.  That seems really odd to me, wouldn't you want it on the seat that doesn't move?  Well I have just decided to use the seat belt instead of the hooks, because I don't want to have to move the car seat to get to the 3rd row.  It will all be much better when we can buy the new(er) car. 

Thanks to everyone who has made such nice comments, and who have prayed for us.  You have no idea how much that means to us in this endeavor.  Tomorrow we have to go get our new washer and dryer, (don't ask, just Murphy's Law in effect), finish getting the house decorated for Christmas, and get laundry done so we can pack.  Still don't know what I am going to do for a tree, we always go cut down a tree, but getting home 1 week before Christmas might pose a problem there.  Oh, well, small problem in a big picture!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and if you went shopping, hope you got some great deals!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not Drama Free Yet

Well this wouldn't be a Russian adoption without some Visa drama.  Monday the 14th I shipped off our Visas overnight to New York for 3 business day service.  They should of been done Thursday, and I had them in my hand on Friday.  Guess what, still no visas.  Thursday I called to find out why they hadn't been shipped yet, and was informed that they didn't get submitted until Wednesday, and didn't explain why, and that they wouldn't be done until Monday.  They said the submission day doesn't count in the 3 business day aspect.  Though last time it did.  Confusing.  So they should of been ready Monday, and shipped out Monday, received on Tuesday.  Still okay with this.  Well guess what, they didn't go out on Monday either.  Now I am a little upset.  I called on Tuesday, and they promised they were going out Tuesday.  They did get picked up, so I should of had them today.  So I get up and look up the tracking and guess what, they are still in New York.....

I called FedEx and was informed that due to weather and mechanical issues, they couldn't leave and now because of Thanksgiving I won't get them until Friday.  Now we don't leave until Monday, but this still freaks me out, I sent them out so early just so I wouldn't have to stress about them.   

Oh, yeah, and my washing machine broke today, so guess who get to possibly go buy a new washer?  Hopefully Randy can fix ours though...

On a good note though, both kids are done with Christmas, presents bought, gift are bought for all people that we need in Russia, and I have a coat and snowsuit for little miss.  Shoes are bought, and I think I am ready to go, I don't need anything else.  Praying anyway, I am tired of shopping.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

3rd Times a Charm?

The good news is that our court documents are in the mail to our agency and we have no more paperwork to gather!  The bad new is, it literally took all day to get it done.  After the fiasco on Saturday at the Pediatricians office, I was positive that everything was going to be okay.  Well we went in to get the paperwork, and took it out and it looked great, and then I looked at the second "copy" of all the documents, they were literally photocopies.  I looked at Randy and was like Oh No!  We had just seen the notary leave.  So we had a few testy moments there, where I was told that it would of been nice if I would of just typed everything up and emailed the forms to them.  I had specifically went in before trip 1 and asked if I could of done that and was told no, they don't have email.  The lady was like What? who told you that!  Anyway, we were meeting a traveling notary at the Psychiatrists office, so we asked her if she would go to the Pediatricians office and do the forms there.  So it got done the 3rd time.  We booked it home, made scans, and then went to go get Camden from school.

After picking Camden up from school, it was pajama day, so he was in his PJ's and we went to Topeka.  He looked pretty cute running around in his PJ's.  I just have to say they are so fast in Topeka, we had 30 documents for them and they were literally done in 20 minutes.  Headed to FedEx, and then the package was out of our hands. Now I just hope that It makes it to Russia before we do!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Car Seat

Bought the car seat today!  Loving this car seat, wish they made these when we got Camden's.  It is a Graco Nautilus, 3-in-1 car seat.  It has the 5 point harness, then converts to a seat belt booster, and then converts to a backless booster! Plus it is PINK!!! It is a little heavy, but really how often do you take the car seat out?
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat - Maura.Opens in a new window

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wow, what a week

I am so emotionally spent right now it isn't even funny.  Everything is falling into place, I just feel like I live in the car running from this place to the next.  Everyone has been so nice, minus the PD, but it has all worked out.  Today though, I hit rock bottom.  I had just left the Psychologists office, after my personal interview, we get to pick up out letter from him on Monday, and I went to the Pediatricians office to get Camden's letters.  On Tuesday Randy had dropped off all 3 forms that we needed his doctor to do.  2 different letters, and a cover page for her medical license.  Yesterday I called and they said I could come in on Saturday and get them.  Well the receptionist gave me the envelope and I knew immediately that something was not right, the envelope was not thick enough.  There should of been 8 pages in there.  I opened it and there were only 2 copies of 1 of the forms Randy left.  Ok, I wasn't panicking yet, I simply said I am missing 2 of the forms.  So they called a nurse, who then went searching for the missing forms.  Couldn't find them.  So they called the lady who typed them up and then my world started getting crazy.

She informed them that the doctor said that since she had never done any forms like the two missing ones, that she didn't need to do them!!!!!  I was like WHAT!?!  I wouldn't of brought them if you didn't need to do them!  The lady then said, don't worry, we will get them done on Monday, and then said, "Does Dr. Pediatrician work on Monday?"  The receptionist looked and I could tell by the look on her face that it was not good news.  My sons doctor was on vacation next week due to the holidays.  That is when I started crying.  They all started freaking out then, and I was like, WHY didn't you call me!  You should of asked if you had a question!  Then I asked if another pediatrician would be willing to sign the letters?  So they went looking.  Since they are a cooperative practice, Camden has seen most of the doctors in the practice, and luckily one of them agreed to sign the forms on Monday when the notary comes in.  BTW the one form that was done was incorrect anyway, they had Camden's birth date wrong!  So Monday we SHOULD have everything and we can go to Topeka and get everything apostilled and FedExed to California.  I will be so happy to be done with everything, and then maybe I can concentrate of Peanut coming home.  I haven't even been shopping for her yet, I have got to get that done!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And I though yesterday was bad

Wow, today was 3 times worse.  Randy left first thing this morning to go to the psychologist's office to take his test.  He took my car since we don't drive his truck except for him to go to work and back.  About 20 minutes after he left the lady from the Visa office called and said that since Camden was a minor we needed to fax her a copy of his birth certificate.  Camden and I were still in our pj's, so we quickly changed, put the spare car seat in Randy's truck, and took off to the grocery store to send the fax.  Meanwhile Randy finished, went to the home study agency and picked up our lost document, and then to the Pediatrician's office to drop off Camden's paperwork.

When he got home he said that we were going to have problems with the PD clearance.  He called and told them what we needed, and they said nope they can't do it that way.  All they do is run a report, but what we needed was the results written in a letter form and notarized.  So he called the legal department and of course they were at lunch.  So we went to run a few more errands, then went to legal.  We told her what we needed, and she was like no problem, I will send the form to the captain of records, head on over and they will have it done.  We stopped by the fire department to get Randy's employment verification, then to the PD we went.  2 hours later we left!  It was insane, it took soooo long!  The bad thing was, they brought the forms out and they had my birthday wrong, and they misspelled City in Kansas City on both forms, so all of them had to be redone!  We left right before 5, right before they closed.  I can't wait for the rush rush to be done.  But we are almost done with the difficult stuff.  I have my doctor appt. tomorrow, so we are on the home stretch.  Can't believe it is all falling into place!

I hope tomorrow is a lot calmer!  On a positive note, our small group that we are involved in have made us dinner this week, it has been so nice to not have to worry about cooking meals, especially when we get home right at dinner time!
Denise

Monday, November 14, 2011

What did you do today?

Well today I....
Took Camden to school, then I went to the Psychologist's office to take my personality test, took the 567 T/F test and I just had to laugh at question #496 Are you stressed right now?  Ummmm, YES!!!  TRUE!!!  But it only took me 1.5 hours to do it.

Left there went to the Credit Union withdrew the $$ for the plane tickets and the visas.  Went to our bank deposited that money, and then ordered our money for our trip.  Meanwhile Randy was at work today he reserved our apartment in Moscow, and booked our flights.  We found a guy who lived in Moscow for 20 years and has about 20 flats that he rents out, he is going to accommodate us for all 12 nights we need in Moscow. 1 night for our medicals, 9 nights later for the 10 day wait, and then 2 nights for the Embassy visit.  He is giving us an adoption discount and we don't have to pay the 18% tax that all the hotels charge.

Anyway, after the bank, I went home and started the visa applications, got Randy's done in time to go get Camden, we then stopped by the fire station and had Randy sign his application.  We then went home and I filled out Camden and my application.  Loaded the boy up and we went to FedEx.  I tried setting up an account, but it wouldn't let me print off any labels.  So I went to the store to see if they could help, and of course they said no, so they charged me their new "holiday" rate which was quite a bit more than what I paid last time.  Now I was adding Camden's passport and application so I knew I would pay a little more, but wow, that was a big mark-up! 

So we leave November 28th. Arrive in Moscow the 29th.  Our 8 doctor medicals on the 30th.  Overnight train to Kirov, arrive on the 1st.  Visit Peanut the first, Court on the 2nd.  Overnight train back to Moscow on the 2nd.  There is NOTHING to do in Kirov.  Up until about a year ago, foreigners were not allowed to stay in Kirov overnight, so the 10 day waiting period was always waived.  After Torry Hansen, they started enforcing the 10 day wait, so they changed the laws concerning foreigners, but the city is NOT English friendly.  We also can't visit Peanut during that time. 

So then we wait out the 10 days in Moscow, then overnight train to Kirov on Dec. 12th.  Visit on the 13th, and pick-up on the 14th.  Overnight train again on the 14th, Peanut medical on the 15th, Embassy on the 16th, and home on the 17th!  3 weeks!  Wahoo, I love our new agency!

Tomorrow, Randy is taking his personality test, I am taking Camden's doctor her paperwork to fill out, we are going to the police station to get our Police Clearance, and I have to go pick up a form from our home study agency that got lost somewhere between KC, California, and Russia.  Busy days all week this week!  Hopefully we will be done on Friday!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Moscow??

Where did you stay in Moscow?  Apartment, Hotel?  Any suggestions?

Home Sweet Home

It was so nice to be home and sleep in my bed last night!  So on Wednesday night we left Kirov at 8 p.m. on the overnight train, and we slept pretty well.  We got into Moscow right around 10 a.m. Thursday morning where we were picked up and taken to the airport.  We found a TGI Fridays and had a wonderful meal.  It was a good thing that we stuffed ourselves because the food options on the plane were NOT wonderful at all.  Our flight left at 3:30 and we got to New York at 5 p.m.  It was a long flight with little sleep.  There were some very "happy" Russians who were passing a bottle among themselves sitting in front of us.  We got through immigration pretty fast and got our bags and rechecked them to KC.

Then the fun started, we had to leave Terminal 1 and go to Terminal 2, we had right around 1:10 until our next flight.  We walked into Terminal 2 and there were probably about 400 people waiting to go through security.  I looked at Randy and said that we were going to miss our flight.  They were so disorganized and had no clue what to do with all of us.  Finally they asked for all people who had 7-7:15 flights to follow them.  We left Terminal 2 and went to Terminal 3, went to the basement and went through security there, we got through with 20 minutes until our flight.  We started power walking/running. We got to our gate with 5 minutes to spare, and they were calling our name overhead! 

We then had a short flight to Cincinnati, where we had to stay overnight.  We caught our shuttle to our airport, and ordered a pizza, and then slept in some of the most comfortable beds ever!  The best 7 hours of sleep.  With our experience with JFK earlier, we opted to arrive very early at Cincinnati.  Not necessary, we were very early and got through security in about 5 minutes!  Oh well, better to be safe than sorry.  We had one more short flight and then we were home.  When we went to get our bags, we found out that our bags didn't make the plane in JFK, but they expedited them overnight to Cincinnati, and they were waiting for us in MCI. 

My mom and Camden picked us up and it was so good to see the little mans smiling face!  We had some friends bring us dinner last night, and it was so nice to not have to worry about dinner that night!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Visits 3 & 4

Wow, another whirlwind day for the Densons.  It started with us waking up at 6:30, and hanging out for about 3 hours before we had to leave to go to the orphanage.  We went to the playroom and they brought us the girls one by one.  In marches our little peanut wearing these neon green tights, a green sundress and a hand knitted sweather that was all different colors crazy!  It was too funny.  We had a good morning and I got to try on the clothes that we brought.  She is definately a 24 month top and a 18 month bottom.  She has a little belly on her.  But I did realize she is not a pink girl, with her complexion she is a red, blue and green girl.  We got to go up to her groupa room and meet all her little playmates.  Let me just tell you it broke my heart.  There was one little girl that just clung to Randy and I like there was no tomorrow.  We got to see where she sleeps and where she plays.  I got her schedule and we got to see her interact with the other kids.  She really livened up around the other kiddos.  After that we went back to the playroom and played for a while until her caregiver came to take her for lunch.  Shortly after that we went to lunch and then came back to the orphanage where we got....................................

COURT DATES!!!  December 2nd, let me tell you I freaked out a little!

So for the next hour we went over court details and stuff we have to do. 

Then Peanut came back and we got to play for another 2 hours before we had to take her to her room.  I dropped off her photo album, clothes we bought, cameras for the caretakers to use and her bear that we bought her.  It was sad to leave, but we will be back in 3 weeks, so that is all that matters!

We have to leave to go catch the train, so until we are back in the states,

Paka!
Denise

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Visits 1 and 2

Well we got to the orphanage this morning and we were led to a small room, all 3 of us couples, told to take off our shoes and wait and they would bring us our little girls.  After about 5 minutes Lena came in and said mama and dada for "peanuts name"  I was like here, here, she's ours!  She was perfect.  She was wearing a purple shirt and skirt and Turquoise tights.  What a combo!  But she was so somber and quiet but went right to me and molded into my arms.  What a wonderful feeling!  We just stood there and held her while the other little girls were brought in.  It took quite a while, but we finally got her to break out of her shell a little, with the help of some puffs and yogurt melts.  We got to play with our little ones for right about an hour and a half and then I got to take Peanut back to her room, she had missed lunch but the caretaker promised that she would get fed.  We also got to talk to the doctor and she had all postive things to say about her.  Her one medical that we knew about from the beginning, and nothing else. 

We then went to lunch were we met 5 families that were picking up their little ones today, and had some insight for us.  It was nice to talk to people who have been through it!  After lunch we went back to the orphanage and I was told that Peanut was still napping but we could get some paperwork done while we wait.  We signed our intent to Adopt and gave her her new name.  And no we are not telling!  Peanut came in and you could tell she was still sleepy but she let me pick her up and she just molded again, it was perfect.  She quickly woke up and she went right into play mode.  She ran and hid from us and ran, and we got some great giggles from her.  It was priceless.  The only complaint I would have was I was down to my short-sleeved shirt and I was still sweating.  One family opened the window and she quickly got scolded by Lena that the babies would get a cold.  So it was closed.  She really latched onto us, and would bring me things she found, and really wanted us to play with her.  We had about 3 hours with her, but it was so hot it was not the greatest quality time.  We get to go back tomorrow to visit, and then we hop back on the train to head back to Moscow.  I don't know if we will get to blog tomorrow, but will from the airport.  Have a great day!

Again, excuse the typos. 

Travel for Trip 1

Okay here we go! 

We left KC at 8 am on Sunday morning, flew to Cincinatti and I had the biggest letdown ever.  I saw a Chick-Fil-A and I went over to see what time they opened, only to realize that they were closed on Sundays!  Oh well, so we then get on our plane to New York, we were flying these really tiny airplanes, the ones where if you bring a carry on bag, you have to check it at the gate because it can't fit.  There is about enough room in the overhead bins for a purse and that is it.  So I get on and I try to put my bag in the overhead bin, because we were in the bulkhead and there was no seat in front of me to put my bag.  Well there was this purse sitting longways, so I went to move it sideways so I could get my bag in, well the lady whose purse it was started yelling at me to not touch her purse there were delicate items in there.  I told her I was just moving it and she got so angry at me  The bad thing was she was sitting right across the aisle from me so that was a LONG hour and a half flight!

So we get to JFK and we try to go through security for our international flight.  They tell us we have to go get a new ticket from Aeroflot, but that they don't open until 4.  It was about 2:30.  We were both starving, but people were already lining up in Aeroflots line, so we went to get in line.  We started asking around what there was to eat inside the secured area and were told to go eat in the food court instead.  This HUGE airport had 3 options for eating, chinese, McDonalds, and Sbarros.  What good choices.  So we ate, and then went through security, and waited for our flight.  While we were waiting, we ran into another couple adopting from our region Kirov, but they were going to an orphanage outside the city, and ours was in Kirov.  Still it was very nice to talk to them. 

Then the 9 hour flight commenced, it was ok, but the seats were hard and very close together, but I did sleep with the help of sleeping pills!  We arrived late to Moscow, got our bags, and caught the shuttle to the hotel where our coordinator  then grabbed us and we headed for the train station.  We had a little time to kill so we went to a cafe to order drinks, since neither Randy nor I drink coffee we ordered Hot Chocolate.  What the brought us was LITERALLY hot melted chocolate.  It was very good, but very rich.  

We then hopped on the train, still in the clothes we left in on Sunday, and we were starting to smell a little mind you :-)  We teamed up with a couple from Ireland, and a single lady from Florida.  With the help of some more sleeping pills I actually slept pretty well.  13 hours later, we arrived in Kirov!  Very cold and snowing.  We met our driver and translator, and they took us to the hotel where we checked in and we had 50 minutes to take a MUCH needed shower and have a light breakfast.  Then off to the orphanage we went.  Details to follow in the next post.

P.S. I apologize for any misspellings, spell check is highlighting every word since we are in Russia!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Greetings from JFK

We are sitting here at the airport getting ready to skype with Camden and then hop on the plane and sit for the next 9 hours!  We have been going since 8 this morning Central time and still have 1 plane and 1 train to go.  Just wanted to say hello, have a great day! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Orphan Sunday

It almost seems fitting that we are leaving to go meet our daughter on Orphan Sunday.  She is not going to be an orphan much longer if I have anything to do with it!  Since I don't know if I will be able to blog tomorrow, I am writing this post today.

There are estimates that there are anywhere from 147-163 million orphans in the world.  Some are orphaned because their parents are deceased, some are orphans because of social issues.  For example, China has a 1 child policy, if you chose to have more than one child you pay a very hefty fine, or you don't have the finances to take care of another child.  Other children are orphans because they are deemed to be defected.  Whether they are missing a limb, have crossed eyes, or was born with Downs Syndrome.  In some countries, it is not okay to have special needs, so the children are given to the orphanages.  I am glad that we live in a country where ALL our needs are able to be met to the best of our abilities. 

We are commanded by God to take care of the widows and orphans.


Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.
Psalms 68:5-6

This does not mean that you have to go out and adopt a child.  It is not in the cards for every person, but there are things that you can do to help orphans.  You can sponsor an orphan, ask your church, if they don't have a program, contact our church, Westside Family Church in Lenexa, KS.  They sponsor children in India, Thailand, and South Africa. 

You can foster children, children caught up in the Foster care system can get lost.  They need strong people to help them and support them.

You can give to an organization that helps parents adopt children.  For example, we got a grant through Hand in Hand Adoption.  It is a matching grant organization.  They match whatever we are able to raise from family and friends.  They rely solely on donations!  Without this organization, we wouldn't of had the money to complete our adoption.  We are so grateful for them.  There are a lot of grant organizations out there.  ShowHope, Helpusadopt.org, Adoption Resources Foundation, and many more.

Or if you hear of a family adopting, you can pray for them!  You can be a rock for them to lean upon.  You can be a blessing in their lives.   

As we leave tomorrow, I can't wait to meet my future daughter, I know she is going to be perfect for us.  Since we will be on the run so much while we are gone, I really don't know if I will be able to blog while we are gone, but I will take great notes and will post as soon as we get back in the states!  Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Got the Visas!

I am ready to go now, we got the visas bright and early this morning! I was a little disappointed though in the beginning, when we opened them it was our passports and a piece of paper, with our registration on it.  I was like wow, we paid $300 a piece for these? Then Randy opened the passports and we saw the stickers!  The real visa!

We have all our paperwork together and now we just have to wait for Sunday to come!  I also got a call from our Agency today to see if we would hand carry some dossiers over to Moscow with us, I gladly said yes!  Glad I get to help out another family. 

Paka for now!
Denise

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's all coming together

We are almost there, the best part is, when we got back from picking Camden up from school I check our bank acct. online and FedEx had debited our account which means our visas are on their way back to KC.  Yesterday I went to go pick up our money, and they assured me that all the money was good.  I took their word on it.  Never again.  When I got home I went through it all. Our agency stated that we had to have money printed after the year 2000 and no stamps, writing, marks etc on it.  Well when I went through it, 1 bill was printed in 1996, and 6 bills had little smiley faces stamped on the back of them.

So today after Randy and I dropped off Camden at school we went to a different branch and exchanged out our bad bills and also got a medical Power of Attorney signed for my mom since she is taking Camden next week.  Then we went to Nebraska Furniture Mart and bought a backpack laptop carrier to put the laptop in.  I also have room to put the camera and video camera in it.  So no camera bag to lug around.  Then we went and picked up a money belt and electric converter from Trisha from Adventures!  Thanks again.  We also went to Wal-Mart and got all our travel size everything we need.  I did forget the Tylenol PM though.  I will need that, since we will be traveling SOOOOO much, I don't sleep well if I am not in a bed.  Planes, trains and cars, forget about it.  I have to be drugged to sleep. 

It is all falling into place, now I just need to figure out what I am taking!  I am a last minute packer, and so is Randy, we will probably be packing at Midnight Saturday for our Sunday A.M. flight. :-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy All Saints Day

Yep, this is the holiday that is delaying our visa by a day.  Don't know anything about this holiday, but oh well.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Russian Holidays!

Freaking out!  Ok, just a little bit, I sent our visas off for 3 business day service, sent it Thursday, they received it Friday. Should be done by Tuesday right? Nope, Nov. 1st is a Russian holiday so they don't work that day, so they won't have it done until Wednesday, so I won't get it back until Thursday.  Cutting it close in my opinion.  Next time I think I will find a place that does two day service, or I will make sure that there are no Russian holidays hindering my visa application!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our Trip

This is what our trip is going to look like..

Nov. 6th Leave KC and fly to Cinci. OH, then Cinci. to JFK, JFK to Moscow arriving on Nov. 7th.
(side note, we could of flew straight to New York, but then would of had to change airports, Newark to JFK, not interested in that,  the tickets we got were a $1.50 more than straight to New York.)
Then overnight train to Kirov arriving on the 8th. 

Hopefully a shower before we go to the orphanage!

Two visits each day on the 8th and the 9th, sign papers, and overnight train back to Moscow arriving on the 10th.

Flight from Moscow to JFK, then JFK to Cinci, and an overnight in Cinci.

Leave bright and early on the 11th and fly home to KC, and to our little man. 

Not a lot of time with our princess, but my view is, the faster we get home, the faster we get to go back and bring her home for good!

We are gone for 6 days, but only staying 2 nights in a hotel!  We are going to be EXHAUSTED!  Randy is going to have two recovery days before he has to go back to work, hope that is enough.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ready! I think...

Well I got the visas in the mail today, good thing I called the company last minute, because she told to me to include our ID numbers and passwords for the online application, probably to fix any mistakes we made.  This information was not on their websites on what to include so I am so thankful I called.  The only problem is everyone at that office is Russian and their accents are so hard to understand over the phone! 

Our bank got the money thing taken care of, I called a bigger "branch" and spoke to someone who had done this before and she said she would have our money for us by Tuesday.  Wahoo!  Now all I have to do is pack, and go buy her two outfits, one in 18 months and one 24 months to see what size she is!  Any suggestions on snacks?  I am taking puffs and yogurt melts.  Any other good suggestions?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Visa Application-OH MY HEAVENS!

That thing is INSANE!  I am surprised they don't ask for a blood sample.  I am just floored at how long it took me to fill it out.  For those of you who finished before July 2011 they changed the application system, to where it has to be filled out online, don't know what it was like before, but WOW!  The thing I am worried about is it asked for my current employer, well I am a stay at home mom, I don't have one, but it would not let me move to the next page without a position and an address of my current employer.  So I just put stay-at-home mom and my home address.  Any other SAHM's have this same problem?  Did I do it right?  Also, the question on how many countries have I been in during the past 10 years!  I had to call my mom to help me out, to see if certain trips happened in the past 10 years.  Randy is going to be miserable on his, he took a 5 week backpacking trip across Europe and Israel back in 2004, so he will have fun filling in all those countries!

I have almost everything squared away except for the Visa and our crisp new bills.  Our bank was like WHAT?!?  They will try, but no guarantees.  Yeah!  Flights are booked, and I didn't sleep a wink last night, I think drugs are going to be in my immediate future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WE GOT THE CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, you heard me correctly, Camden is going to be a big brother FINALLY!

I got the call on Oct. 12th, but there were some questions about her medicals so I decided to keep mum.  After waiting 20 months with Agency A, and then switching to Agency B we got the call less than 2 weeks after our application was accepted!  She is a beautiful little girl who was born on our anniversary, even better!  We leave on Nov. 6th to go and meet her!  I am SOOOO excited I can hardly stand it.  Right now we are researching flights to see what our options are.

We will fly to Moscow and then take an overnight train to her region, Kirov about 500 miles away.  Spend 2-3 days with her and then fly home!  The best news ever!  I will post more when I get more info!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Off it goes!

Finally, our dossier is on it's way to California!  Today I finally got to go pick up our home study documents from the agency to a nice tune of $275.  Don't even get me started on this.  They have a policy that if they have to do any additional documents after the update they charge $25 a page.  I should of asked for a discount since they made me wait over a week for them, but oh well. 

Off to Topeka then, where I then spent another $435 on apostilles.  Yikes!  That one hurt.  Not to mention the 8 that I had from Missouri.  64 documents in all.  So then off to FedEx I go.  Now I I don't hardly EVER ship anything, and usually if I do I use snail mail.  So when he asked me if I wanted Morning overnight delivery or afternoon overnight delivery I figured there couldn't be THAT big of a price difference.  Needless to say when he told me my total, I about had a cow, $75 to ship.  My bad, next time I will choose afternoon delivery!  I am just glad it is finally out of our hands and in the hands of our agency now.  My stack of documents were so thick I couldn't use an envelope, I had to use a box, which upped the price a little there also!

Have a great day everyone.

Denise

Friday, October 14, 2011

What a week

As I stated in my last post we have been waiting on our home study agency to finish up some paper work for our new agency.  I was supposed to have them by last Monday.  Then I was supposed to have them today. Now I am not going to get them until Tuesday.  All because someone didn't read the directions.  I was cc:ed in the email that went to our home study agency and I read everything that they were suppose to do, they were not difficult. Our agency sent the templates and all they had to do was to fill in their information.  There was also 1 specific instruction on EACH form, the Executive Director has to sign each form, not the social worker.  Well each form was filled out for the Social Worker to sign.  When that was brought to our home studies attention by Agency B when they checked everything a nasty email was sent back to Agency B, from the social worker, that those instructions needed to be clarified better in the instructions.  Each template for the signature portion, it said specifically Executive Director.  In the instructions, it said Executive Director.  I don't know how much more specific it could of gotten.  So each form had to be changed from her name to his.  Not too bad right, well then she let us know that the Executive Director is on vacation until next Tuesday.  So I can't have my stuff until then.  Now I have had all my stuff done for almost a week, and that's after spending HOURS on the phone trying to find a CPA, etc.  All they had to do was copy and paste and fill someones name in.  Hmmmm.....I really wish our first home study agency hadn't been put on the blacklist.  I might switch back to them for the post-placements, we will see.

So on Tuesday, I will be in their office bright and early and I will sit and wait until they hand me my papers, and after I double check each one, then I will be off to Topeka, getting them Appostiled, and then overnighting them to California.  Whew!  Hopefully I will have good news for you next week! :-)